28/09/05 - For immediate release
HYPNOTHERAPY CAN HELP IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME
Medics at The University of Manchester have discovered that courses of hypnotherapy can be an effective treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Professor Peter Whorwell, who directs the South Manchester Functional Bowel Service, has been researching the use of gut-directed hypnosis for over 20 years. His most recent experiment treated 250 IBS patients with 12 hypnotherapy sessions, and achieved a success-rate of around 70%.
Up to eight million people in Britain suffer from IBS, with symptoms including diarrhoea, pain and bloating. The condition can seriously affect sufferers’ quality of life and finding treatment can be difficult, leading many doctors to feel they can do little to help.
Yet, according to Professor Whorwell, “IBS is ideal for treatment with hypnosis, as there is no structural damage to the body.”
In his latest experiment, sufferers undertook 12, hour-long sessions explaining how the gut works and what causes their symptoms.
He explained: “They learnt how to influence and gain control of their gut function, and then seemed to be able to change the way their brain modulated activity in their gut.”
Professor Whorwell believes that, although labour-intensive, hypnotherapy could be an extremely effective treatment for the condition; and a less expensive alternative to new, costly drugs coming onto the market.
“We’ve found it to help all the symptoms, whereas some of the drugs available reduce only a few,” he said.
Former patient Sonia Pinnock said: “I suffered from IBS and was on medication for nearly 20 years, but could get little relief from my symptoms. Since visiting the clinic for 12 hypnotherapy sessions last year however they’ve disappeared completely – the difference it’s made to my quality of life is indescribable.”
Another happy patient, Christine Walsh, said: “After my hysterectomy I suffered from IBS for about five years, and it totally ruined my quality of life. I couldn’t plan holidays or leisure activities and at work I was often doubled-up in pain. But since having weekly hypnotherapy sessions for three months I’ve now been free from IBS for five and a half years - the treatment has totally changed my life.”
The treatment can only be carried out by practitioners trained in gut-directed hypnotherapy, and is not yet widely available on the NHS. Professor Whorwell has therefore founded a dedicated unit at Wythenshawe Hospital which treats patients from all over the UK.
“As IBS can be a life-long condition it could clearly be a very valuable option for patients. However it is not suitable for everyone and women tend to respond better than men,” he said.
“The term hypnosis was coined by a Manchester
surgeon, James Braid, early in the nineteenth century, and it’s been in and out
of fashion ever since. I’d like to think
that our Unit has brought hypnotherapy back to
- ENDS -
Notes for Editors
will be discussing hypnotherapy and IBS at the University’s Café Scientifique discussion evening on 3 October at 6:30pm; please
for more details. The event is open to
all (places must be booked) and will be held in Cafe Muse at The Manchester
Prof Whorwell, Sonia Pinnock and Christine Walsh are available for interview upon request.
graduated in biochemistry from the
He has a
particular interest in the functional gastrointestinal disorders and now
directs the South Manchester Functional
Bowel Service, which undertakes research into the clinical, epidemiological
and pathophysiological aspects of gastrointestinal
disorders as well as caring for large numbers of these patients from all over
For further information please contact Jo Nightingale, on 0161 275 ....